Ricky Dillard & New G; November 1, 2003 in Chicago
It’s been three years since we’ve heard from Ricky Dillard and his singing aggregation New G. Ricky comes back with fervor in Unplugged...The Way The Church Used To Be, recorded live in Chicago on November 1, 2003 for Crystal Rose Records. Buckle your seatbelt and stay for the ride as Gospelflava.com correspondant Keith Smith relays the thrills and chills.
It was excitement before you even got close to Bishop E’s Apostolic Pentecostal Church of Morgan Park. Unexpectedly, there were people lined up at 7:00 PM. Obviously an overflow situation, for people were still waiting to get into the church, and service was slated to start at that time. There was high expectation in the air for this recording.
Inside the church, Donald Lawrence opened, soliciting the congregation the appropriate responses for the applause and exhortation tracks, and prepping us for worship. In Chicago, it can get ‘out of hand’ during the worship clapping, as people began to really get into it.
While Donald was getting the people ready, I slipped into the back with Ricky and New G, who were having an impromptu prayer meeting. The petitions rendered by the members reminded me of those old Pentecostal services. Ricky charged everyone to receive “strength in Jesus’ name”.
Back to the crowded sanctuary, Ricky Dillard and New G took the stage in black leather with cream. Praise and worship time was high, with the choir joining DeAndre Patterson on “Come On In This House”.
The opening selection was a remake from the choir’s first album, “I May Not Have This Chance”, written by Darius Brooks. Ricky improves on his own music with ease, by simply adding a sweet horn section, and letting them do their own thing. The second song, “Take Me Back To That Place Where I First Received” with Dillard on leads, reminds you of “The Holy Place”.
The choirmaster came back and let us know that some important people don’t understand that you can still praise God and be important. The crowd went wild when the Hammond B3 organ revved up with the Sunday morning song, “Oh Sweet Wonder”. A hard, go-get-em hymn with guts. Hardly, anyone could contain themselves, with various New G lead singers adding an ad-lib verse here and there. The ending came out with the old COGIC praise “Yes Lord” but in Ricky style. Needless to say, a bump came out after Ricky let us know that “The reason why you still in the mess you’re in; is because you haven’t said yes to the Lord”.
LaVargna Hubbard, veteran of New G, gave a fast country number Let Us All Go Back To The Old Time Way. The lead guitar took us back on the old Rev. Timothy Wright cut.
After intermission, New G returned with light powder blue and yellow robes and ready for the second set. Chicago writers VaShawn Mitchell and DeAndre Patterson contributed the next set of songs.
Mitchell’s “Another Chance” was given royal treatment by New G. God Has So Many Great Things In Store For You was the message of the night. The medium-paced song was first led by Ricky then reprised by DeAndre. A second praise break spread throughout the church.
The Lady of Soul, LaShun Pace served as special guest, singing “Oh How Precious Is The Name of Jesus.” This was one of Myrna Summers’ most notable songs, done by GMWA Mass Choir years ago. LaShun licked it with her own way, calling on the name of Jesus.
New G has to give at least one bump song on each of their albums. Evangelist Valerie Griffin gave it to us on “Sold Out”. Immediately after that, in an earnest plea to the Lord, Steven “Puff” Jones requested God to “Take Over My Life”. Chicago writer Pastor Donald Alford wrote both of these songs as they were previously featured on his church choir’s album, Rain On Us, from 1997.
The album’s production consultant, Sanchez Harley, was working the entire floor during the live session. There were so many Gospel guests to cheer on Ricky Dillard & New G: Ted Winn from Ted & Sheri, Minister Lonnie Hunter, Angela Spivey, Bryant Jones, B. Chase Williams, Kenny Lewis (One Voice) and countless others.
Musicians for the session included: Michael Taylor (Music Director, organ, and also co-producer of the project along with Ricky Dillard), Rick Robinson (keyboard), Joey Woolfalk (lead), Derrick Holmes (bass), Calvin Rodgers (drums), Larry Roberts Jr. (drums), Rexall Heart (drums) and a great live horn section.
Check out more photos from Ricky Dillard & New G's live recording below.
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